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God Glorifies Us Through Suffering

This statement sounds cold and callous at first glance. How could my suffering bring glory to God, and how can it glorify me? However, Let’s remember the purpose of Christ’s suffering and consequential glory.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

God is not glorified by our pain, but He is glorified as we grow in Christ-like love through the suffering we endure. He glorified Christ as He endured the shame and suffering of the cross, demonstrating the perfection of love on our behalf. He is glorified when our love and joy are found in Him alone. Just as Christ’s love was proven and given through suffering, The fruit of the Spirit within our own lives is grown in the soil of suffering.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise when we think carefully about the descriptions of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 and the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5. How can long-suffering be produced within us if we never have to suffer long while still being kind? How can the fruit of patience be produced within us if we never have to wait and hope for that which is good? How can gentleness be developed in our lives when we never have to respond in gentleness, bearing with the weaknesses and hatefulness of others? How can we know true joy found in Christ alone when we are clinging to the fleeting pleasures and comforts of this world?

The suffering of this life can feel overwhelming and often exhausting. Thank God for a faithful High Priest Who has gone before us and can compassionately bear the burdens we carry here on earth. He helps us to set our minds on the glory that awaits us which will far exceed any sacrifice we could make here on earth.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Study It Out

  1. What does James 1:2-18 tell us about the source of temptations to sin? How does God redeem natural temptations to sin when faced with the normal trials of life that will come to all?
  2. What is another way God uses suffering in our lives to expand our ability to love and help others according to 2 Corinthians 1:3-7?
  3. With what does 1 Peter 1:6-9 compare the trial of our faith? How does this truth give us the strength to endure the trials we face?